MONTREAL -- A 200-person protest broke out in a Hasidic community north of Montreal on Monday night, when a person who wanted to deliver food was blocked by police at a security checkpoint by the community’s entrance.

When public health officials quarantined the community in Boisbriand due to confirmed COVID-19 cases to limit the spread of the virus, community leaders asked police to help enforce the measures. A checkpoint has been in place on the edge of the community since last week to limit entry to essential services only. 

Around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, a vehicle tried to enter the community but was denied, causing discontent among residents. 

“It was someone who wanted to deliver merchandise, food, but he wasn’t on the list of essential services. He was saying that it was food, so he should be allowed to enter,” said Eric Huard, a prevention officer with the Regie intermunicipale de police de Therese-de-Blainville. “Since he wasn’t on the list – there’s a very tight list of people who have authorized access – it was complicated.” 

The situation lasted about an hour and a half. Huard said that since Passover – one of the most important Jewish holidays – begins on Wednesday, he understands the sensitive nature of the situation as people are not able to participate in their usual celebrations. 

“There were long discussions with those in charge, the situation calmed itself afterwards, but it required a lot of patience,” Huard said. 

The police plan to communicate with community officials, public health and the city to work towards collaboration.